A Professional Organizer Said This Is The Number One Thing Making Your Home Cluttered

Too much "stuff" isn’t the primary cause of clutter after all.

A resolution many make, whether at the start of a New Year or the beginning of a new season, is to vanquish their clutter. Of course, conquering clutter and finding the balance between tossing an item or confirming that this item sparks joy isn't as easy as it sounds.

When we asked a professional home organizer, what's the number one thing making your home look cluttered, do you have any ideas as to what their answer was? In theory, it may not be actual things cluttering your home, but rather the emotional elements causing clutter to build.

Clutter Causes

Bailey Carson, Home Care Expert at Angi says, "The main causes of clutter aren't necessarily the things themselves but rather the reasons behind them being there in the first place."

Clutter can form when there aren't systems in place to stay organized or, as Carson says, for other reasons such as emotional attachment.

"When you look at it from that perspective, the top causes of clutter become clear: a lack of an organizational system, poor storage, attachment to items, schedule changes, and your hobbies needing a home," says Carson.

Kayla Chase, Professional Organizer at Greenville Organizers in South Carolina shares another unlikely culprit: "The first thing that clients usually think is that they have too much 'stuff.' This may or may not always be the case, however, it does matter how much space you have for keeping your belongings organized, especially if they can be kept out of sight."

Lack of an Organizational System

Corralling the untidy elements of your space with a simple organizational system you can follow is the first step to making your space look neat. "Items can easily become clutter if they don't have a proper place that aligns with how you use them," says Carson.

Carson suggests folks spend time surveying where they typically place items and curate their organizational system around their natural habits. "You'll be more likely to stick to it if it doesn't require too many behavioral changes," she says.

Poor Storage

Carson believes that proper storage solutions are the ticket to making the stuff in your home not appear as clutter. "If you're going to store things out of sight, make sure you have a reason and that it's still accessible and well labeled for when you need it. As you put items in storage, mark them with the date."

To keep up with your storage, Carson says it's important to occasionally take inventory of what you have and what you no longer need.

Attachment to Items

One of the biggest reasons for clutter becoming overwhelming is the fact that many don't want to part with an item due to a personal or emotional attachment element. Carson suggests digitizing coupons, bills, and to-do lists so they're not cluttering your counters, drawers, and pockets. As for those loved sentimental items? "For the more sentimental items, decide if it's worth displaying and, if not, take a photo to preserve the memory and donate, discard, or sell it."

Schedule Changes

Within the past two years, nearly everyone has experienced schedule changes from working at home, remote learning, and now starting the slow process of returning to the office and school. Schedule shake-ups are clutter causes as well. To bust the clutter (and keep your kitchen counters tidy) Carson says to straighten the room you're in before you leave it. Also creating specific places for items such as keys, phones, folders, and wallets will help you reclaim your space.

Hobbies Needing a Home

Maybe it's the kids' soccer gear filling the garage or your scrapbooking passion littering your dining room table, but hobbies can be a big source of clutter. "You may have many more cooking or baking materials, arts and crafts supplies, or gardening tools that don't have a proper home," says Carson. "Create a system that allows for easy access of your most-used items while maintaining a clean and clutter-free environment."

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